Jermaine Pennant today revealed there were no hard feelings about his early substitution against Brighton last weekend – as he targeted a more sustained contribution now he has built up match fitness.
The England-under-21 winger was withdrawn just before the hour mark for the fresh legs of Björn Sigurdarson with Wolves reduced to ten men, and showed his disappointment at the decision, a reaction totally understood by boss Ståle Solbakken.
Pennant himself also admits it proved to be the right move as Wolves still gained a point despite being reduced in numbers, and has quickly turned his attentions to tomorrow’s trip to Watford, where he was on loan a decade ago.
“I am definitely enjoying it here and now I’ve got used to the pace and what the Championship is all about,” he says.
“I felt good at the weekend but obviously when you go down to ten men sometimes you have to stay tight and sacrifice an attacking player.
“Unfortunately that was me.
“I have seen some remarks about the way I came off the pitch but the only reason behind that was that I was disappointed – nothing more than that.
“I wasn’t showing any attitude or anything but I just didn’t want to come off.
“I was enjoying the way I was playing in the first half and wanted to carry on in the second half.
“At the end of the day the manager made his decision and it proved to be a great choice because we got a result.
“I hope the manager knows I wasn’t showing any attitude and I think he does because he knows I just didn’t want to come off.
“I think there would be something wrong if I had wanted to come off.”
Having played very little football at Stoke prior to joining Wolves on loan, Pennant is now hoping to reap the rewards of some more regular action at Molineux.
And he is enjoying the style of play employed by boss Ståle Solbakken which has also included some promising link-ups with Kevin Foley.
“I think it’s worked well for me with Foles and it’s nice to see him going on the overlap sometimes – it saves my legs!” he says.
“But it’s good that we’re trying to play some decent football which we have managed to do at times.
“In the Championship so much of it is about getting results but I think you also need to enjoy your football.
“It’s not going to happen overnight and is going to take a bit of time but if we continue playing like we have been – and putting in performances over a whole match – we will definitely start bouncing back.
“I don’t think this is the time for the alarm bells to start ringing.
“There are still 30-odd games left this season and as long as everyone stays positive and stays together we will definitely pick up wins.
“We’ve looked at some of the games we haven’t lost and we’ve not really been beaten by other teams – it’s more that we’ve beaten ourselves with some of the goals we’ve given away.
“That can be a positive and negative but if we can keep things tight then we will have a chance.
“For me, there are a lot of games in this league and hopefully now my sharpness is coming.
“I can feel in training that I’m as sharp as I’ve ever felt which is a positive for me.
“Now I’ve got those games under my belt I think my match fitness is there and I can really start to make an impact in the Championship.”
And so to Vicarage Road, where the 29-year-old temporarily plied his trade in separate loan spells in the 2001/02 and 2002/03 campaigns.
“I was on loan there when I was 19 – the first team I went to on loan from Arsenal,” Pennant recalls.
“It’s a fair old time ago now but I remember getting a few games and also popping up with a few goals as well.
“They are in a good bit of form and when you play away in this league it is always difficult.
“Hopefully Saturday’s result, getting a point after going down to ten men before half time, will give us a boost as it certainly felt like a win.
“We have to use that to spur us on and kick start the season.”